5 Items: Our Day Trip to Miles City


1. I attempted to order a peanut butter and pineapple pizza when we stopped for lunch at Pizza Hut. Beau just looked at me and said, “Wow, we really need to get you some sleep.”

2. Beau and I are at an impasse over whether or not the self-checkout at Wal-Mart is worth the effort. He says NO, it’s never worth the effort. But I get to looking at the long checkout lines contrasted with the empty, beckoning registers at the self-checkout and then I remember my two months of quality checker experience working at Target, and I think, Why would I stand around waiting in a line when I could be getting with it and checking myself out?  Unfortunately, we usually have about $300 worth of groceries in our cart, and as everyone knows, fresh produce certainly complicates matters.  And Beau rolls his eyes and taps his feet while I struggle, once again, with the issue of where to put the grocery sacks in a cart that’s still full of stuff I haven’t scanned yet.

3. For the third stinking time, we coincidentally went to town (which is 90 miles away, mind you) on the exact same day as the neighbor who no longer speaks to us.  Let me paint the picture for you:  There is one road to get to our house; this guy lives four miles from us on this road; the next closest neighbor is about nine miles beyond this guy. After he became convinced that we were stealing his water about 10 months ago, he backed out of his oft-repeated mantra of the first 6 months we lived here: “Just call us if you ever need anything… you know things can get spooky out here and if you ever need anything we’ll be right there… there aren’t many of us out here so we’ve got to help each other out.”  Now, after much water has flowed under the bridge (no pun intended), he doesn’t speak when we (groan… again?) accidentally run into each other in Miles City.  This time, I came out of Wal-Mart with two full carts and two kids in tow, then yanked the whole passel across the parking lot to where our pickup and trailer were parked. There was a pickup and trailer parked right next to us:  guess who was watching my parade from his pickup?  Oh, why this again, Lord?  I grimaced and bravely offered a “Hey, how’s it going,” to which he grunted in reply, then continued to watch as I trundled by with my two carts and two kids and proceeded to load the whole passel. This. Guy. Is. A. Doozy.
(P.S.:  Never, ever drill a well in partnership with a neighbor.  Even if the partnership works in your lifetime, it will only cause gnashing of teeth, name-cursing, and attorney-calling in the future.)
(P.P.S.: Never, ever get in a fight with a writer. The writer always gets the last word.)


4. We don’t go to town often, but we always go with a jam-packed schedule. Our day in Miles City went like this:
a) We left the house at 8 a.m., already an hour behind schedule.

b) We stopped at Forsyth for fuel and beverage.  Baby Marsi did sleep between home and Forsyth, about an hour, then went on sleep strike for the rest of the day.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you had one of those kids who just sleeps through stuff?  It would make life easier.

c) Beau dropped me and the kids off at the dentist’s office in Miles City at quarter to ten. He then continued on to Riverside Marine & Cycle to leave the Polaris Ranger for repairs.  (Which is why we had to take the horse trailer to town:  we discovered a few hours before leaving that the Polaris Ranger was not going to fit in the back of the pickup.)

d) Asher and Emi got right in for their dental check-ups and both did great. Marsielle, however, would have no part of the dental secretaries holding her while my teeth were cleaned… so the entire office watched the clock awaiting Beau’s return. Finally he did return. Beau held Marsi while my teeth were cleaned, and by the time my teeth were clean, the Blake kids were really needing to exit the dentist’s office. While Beau hit the chair, I took the kids out to the pickup, where we pretended we were driving and rocked out to our new “Hank the Cowdog” CD. I hoped the baby would take a nap. She didn’t.

e) When Beau finally emerged from the dentist’s office, we were all starving. We headed straight to Pizza Hut, where I ordered the peanut butter pizza (see above).

f) After pizza, we had a couple hours to spare before Marsielle’s 12-month check-up at the health clinic. Knowing we would have to stop at Wal-Mart sometime, we decided to get it out of the way. I promised Beau we didn’t need much; hadn’t we grocery shopped just two weeks before?  Side note:  Asher lagged behind whimpering most all day. I think he didn’t feel great.  At one point he whispered to me, “I’m just a little on the weak side today.” So Beau took Asher and baby Marsi on a thorough tour of the camping section at Wal-Mart while I took a very proud Emi with me (hurray for one-on-one time!  Emi told me she wants to be a beautiful mommy when she grows up! How’s that for heart-melting-worthiness?).  After an hour and a half in Wal-Mart, of course picking up only a few necessary items, I hit the self-checkout while our Daddy of the Year took the kids to the adjoining game room.  At 3:30, in the midst of trying to self-check a spaghetti squash and four mangoes, I managed to get Beau’s attention with a wave.  The Wal-Mart employee supervising the self check-out thought I was trying to get her attention and came trundling over, but I sent her back to her post, because I am great at self-checkout!  I half-hollered at Beau: “Isn’t it time for Marsielle’s appointment?” He checked his watch and sure enough, it was. He brought the big kids over to help me finish the self-checkout while he hoofed it to the health clinic with Marsielle (thankfully the parking lots are… almost… adjacent).

g) I self-checked out over $300 in groceries, then patted myself on the back for saving myself all the irritation and headache of standing in a long line waiting for a professional checker to help me.  That’s 45 minutes of my life I’ll never get back…  Anyhow, leaving the store, Asher took one cart, I took the other with Emi in it, and together we made it out of the store and across the parking lot to our pickup and trailer, passing our neighbor along the way (see above; I will refrain from repeating the story in the interest of my health).  Our coolers were in the nose of the trailer, so first there was the wrangling of the coolers, then the unloading of the groceries into the coolers, being careful to sort out produce and refrigerated and frozen foods.  Luckily our bagger had done an awesome job, saving us a little time here.  (Pat, pat.)

h) It was 70°, which was enough to overheat us as we unloaded groceries, so before heading to the health clinic to rescue Beau and baby, we toured the nearby Dairy Queen in search of cool drinks.  While there, I was sure to get a treat for Beau as a reward for being a very patient daddy. Then the kids and I walked to the clinic from Dairy Queen (I was guessing there was no need trying to park the horse trailer at the clinic).

i) Beau had helped Marsielle through her check-up, but he was delaying the nurse on the 12-month shots, which Marsielle needed three of.  Good thing My Sister the Physician works at that clinic; I am famous by association there and so we can get away with a few things the average patient couldn’t!  Needless to say, Beau was very relieved to see me walk through the door and gladly traded the baby for his Dairy Queen treat. He did not want to be the one responsible when the nurse brought out the needles!  Marsielle lived up to expectations and howled exceedingly well as I pinned her arms down and Nurse Melissa administered the vaccine.

j) Released from the clinic, we had to rush to Riverside to pick up the Ranger.  It was already almost closin’ time!

k) Next, we had to rush to an appointment with a heavy equipment operator outside of town, where Beau analyzed the potential of a water storage tank (trying to fix the water problem, see above) while the kids played in the gravel and Asher (of course) desperately needed to use the restroom.

l) We had hoped to catch my niece and nephew at their respective sports’ practices, but by the time we escaped the talkative heavy equipment operator, the day was winding down. We were relieved when my sister and niece met us in the parking lot at Arby’s for quick hugs before we left town.

m) We left Miles City at about 8 p.m. Not far out of town, Beau nearly hit a pedestrian-sized tumbleweed blowing across the interstate in the dark, so he was good and awake for the rest of the trip home.  Baby Marsielle screamed in her seat for the first 20 miles.  Finally we pulled off the interstate, turned off “Hank the Cowdog,” shushed the big kids, quieted the baby, and reassessed our will to live.  After a few minutes of quiet, the baby fell asleep, I carefully strapped her back into her carseat, and we continued toward home.

And Tuesday was all about putting everything away:


© Tami Blake

One thought on “5 Items: Our Day Trip to Miles City

  1. Ya, I want to know too, so someday I don’t see someone from Ingomar and ask “Oh, do U know….” Left me wondering for a bit, I was trying to figure out how you would be sharing water like in an irrigation ditch, around north eastern Rosebud County!!!


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